Modesto just might be on a local Hollywood actor roll right now.
Beyer High graduate Jeremy Renner's star vehicle "The Hurt Locker" just won the mother of all Hollywood awards, the Oscar, for best picture -- and Renner himself was nominated for best actor.
Now, Timothy Olyphant -- another Beyer High grad -- is flying high on the TV side with his own star vehicle, "Justified."
"Justified" debuted last week to massive ratings for cable network powerhouse FX. At 4.16 million viewers, the show notched the second most-watched series première in the network's history, behind the much-lauded and Emmy- rewarded "The Shield."
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In fact, the FX combination of "Justified" and its lead-in movie, "Live Free or Die Hard" -- which also starred our very own Mr. Olyphant, thank you very much -- topped all basic cable networks in the ratings during the 8-11 p.m. time period among adults ages 18-49 (1.33 million), adults ages 18-34 (654,000) and men ages 18-49 (902,000), the network said.
That's a whole lotta Olyphant love, my friends.
Having tuned in to the first two airings, all that love was quite, well, justified.
The show's pretty darn magnificent. As much as I loved Olyphant in the also-magnificent HBO Western "Deadwood," this has me even more hooked. "Justified" has Olyphant playing a similarly mysterious lawman with a ton of emotional baggage. But the new show allows Olyphant to show a wry humor that was never part of his "Deadwood" character, Seth Bullock.
It's awfully early for this kind of talk, but some critics are suggesting Emmy nominations might be in the show's future -- maybe even for Olyphant.
"Timothy Olyphant, who so often played second fiddle to Ian McShane in 'Deadwood,' now has a chance to shine as a lawman who speaks softly, but carries a deadly sidearm. Expect him to be a major Emmy contender," writes TV critic Chuck Barney in the Contra Costa Times
Hello? How cool would that be? Academy Award nod for one Modesto-bred actor, Emmy nod for another? In the same year?
Pretty darn cool.
Modesto just might reach home-bred-star nirvana if that happens.
I for one will continue to follow Olyphant and the action Tuesday nights on the FX network. Honestly, if you're a TV viewer and you're from around these parts, you should give it a try, too.
Speaking of great TV, a handful of other series also are putting the spring in television's air right now.
The incredible, dark and complex "Breaking Bad" (AMC) returned for its third season Sunday. It's fascinating, disturbing and heartbreaking stuff starring Emmy winner Brian Cranston. It's hard to watch, but harder to turn away from.
"Damages" (FX) returned several weeks ago, and things are getting as complex as ever on this legal drama/thriller starring Glenn Close.
Side note, Olyphant caught the FX eye last season as part of the "Damages" cast, in a role that -- unlike most of the characters on the show -- didn't get killed off. I'd expected him to return this season until news broke that he'd star in "Justified."
Still, I have a feeling he'll turn up at some point, only because his character, Wes, has been mentioned a couple of times this season. Nothing on "Damages" is mentioned without significance.
Which brings me to "Lost" (ABC). I hardly can take the continued questions being raised on this über-mysterious series. This is the final season and the writers promise all the questions we avid viewers have had will be answered.
Several episodes in, I'm still waiting. In fact, the latest action has simply brought about even more questions. Among them, how all the show's characters now are living parallel lives both on and off the island.
But this week's episode did start to unravel at least one of the mysteries, so hope remains that the writers won't let us down.
Reach Scene editor Pat Clark at email@example.com.